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A New Perspective

All the people began sobbing when they heard the commands of the law.

Then Ezra, the priest, and I as governor, and the Levites who were assisting me, said to them, "Don't cry on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the Lord your God - and it is a time to celebrate with a hearty meal, and to send presents to those in need, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. You must not be dejected and sad!

And the Levites, too, quieted the people, telling them, "That's right! Don't weep! For this is a day of holy joy, not of sadness."

so the people went away to eat a festive meal and to send presents; it was a time of great and joyful celebration because they could hear and understand God's words. Nehemiah 8: 9-12 (TLB)

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalms 118:24 (TLB)

Leonora "Lee" Smith lives in North Carolina. When she retired, she was determined to stay busy. She had ample time, and she viewed it as an opportunity to serve God by giving back to others. But she kept herself too busy. For a few years Leonora was fine running from one activity or meeting to another, but then she became plagued with discontentment - even a deep feeling of sadness. She didn't feel joy, and she didn't know why. After all, wasn't she serving God?

Surprisingly her perspective changed during the pandemic when all of us were forced to slow down or stop. Leonora began to appreciate simple things like birds singing in the morning and watching the beauty of spring unfold. Most important, she discovered that in all her busyness, she had been neglecting quiet time with God. No wonder she felt such heaviness and sadness!

Leonora is making some positive changes now. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow, so she is focusing on activities that bring her joy as she serves others. She guards her meeting time with God every morning, and that helps her rejoice in each day no matter what may come her way.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us always to seek you first. Thank you for the joy we find in you, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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